The social media platform Tik-Tok has quickly become one of the most popular apps in the world over the past two years, but now security experts are warning that it could be a dangerous security risk. Apple’s new iOS 14 update came with a privacy transparency feature which informed users that the app was secretly reading the contents of their clipboards, something that the company promised it would stop doing last year. In light of these revelations, Tik-Tok has once again promised to remove that function from its app, but privacy experts are skeptical.
According to Ars Technica, this security flaw allows the app to access the most sensitive data on your devices including passwords and cryptocurrency wallets.
Okay so TikTok is grabbing the contents of my clipboard every 1-3 keystrokes. iOS 14 is snitching on it with the new paste notification pic.twitter.com/OSXP43t5SZ
— Jeremy Burge (@jeremyburge) June 24, 2020
The new Apple update also identified a large number of other applications that were doing the same thing, but Tik-Tok is under additional scrutiny because of its apparent ties to the Chinese government.
The company has responded to the controversy in a statement saying that the security flaw was a part of an unreleased feature designed to prevent spammy behavior.
“Following the beta release of iOS14 on June 22, users saw notifications while using a number of popular apps. For TikTok, this was triggered by a feature designed to identify repetitive, spammy behavior. We have already submitted an updated version of the app to the App Store removing the anti-spam feature to eliminate any potential confusion. TikTok is committed to protecting users’ privacy and being transparent about how our app works. We look forward to welcoming outside experts to our Transparency Center later this year,” the statement read.
Just after the finding was made, India announced that they would be banning the app, as tensions with China continue to rise after recent clashes at the border.
Image Credit: Alexey Malkin